5 February 2013

Gambia: AMRC Deputy Director Testifies in Economic Crime Case

Lamin Sanneh, deputy director of the Assets Management and Recovery Corporation (AMRC), who is also PW3 in the ongoing multiple criminal charges against 3 ex-officials of the Corporation, yesterday testified before the Special Criminal Court. The case was presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

The three former AMRC officials; Abdoulie Tamba, ex-DG (at large); Yusupha Jaiteh and Abdoulie Dibba, were charged with the multiple offences of economic crime, theft, and abuse of office, contrary to the Laws of The Gambia. The accused persons all denied the charges.

In his testimony, the AMRC deputy director gave accounts on issues relating to the operations of the Corporation, sale of the rice and cement, disapproval of the Board of Directors for the said items, administration of the Corporation with respect to the exhibits tendered in court, among others.

According to him, 67 million dalasi investment in rice and cement is a huge capital investment for the AMRC and that the accused persons, who were part of the management team ought to have sought and obtain the prior approval of the AMRC Board of Directors before engaging in such a business. He said he personally went through all the relevant documents at the AMRC but was unable to trace any such approval by the Board of Directors.

Testifying further, Lamin Sanneh stated that when he assumed office as director of Finance and Administration of the AMRC in 2010, he reviewed books and noticed a huge pile of debts amounting to about 98 million dalasis. He said he issued a memo to the managing director at the time, Abdoulie Tamba (1st accused), drawing his attention to this situation. As a result of this fact, he said a debt collection team was established and was headed by the 2nd accused (Abdoulie Dibba). In the process of debt recovery, the witness continued, it was discovered that one Ahmed Yaya Mouktarr, who owed a consolidated amount of over 2.7 million dalasis was given the goods without any collateral security.

"As such, further searches and investigations discovered that the said Ahmed Yaya Mouktarr and most of the debtors who were given unsecured facilities with the AMRC had absconded," he said.

At that juncture, the director of Public Prosecution applied for an adjournment to continue with the evidence of his witness, Lamin Sanneh. The case was adjourned to Monday, February 11th, 2013 for continuation.

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